The April 14 monthly meeting of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council had an extremely long agenda, including seating of new board members after the body’s recent elections. And because there was also a considerable amount of debate on various issues at the meeting, the group adjourned only about half way through its agendized business.
But board members picked up where they left off at a Special Meeting of the board last night, and moved through rest of the agenda. Once again, however, procedural debates continued to haunt the discussions, and the meeting still clocked in at 3 1/2 hours, despite tabling some items until the next meeting.
Briefly last night, the Board members voted to:
- Form an Ad Hoc Budget Committee to make recommendations for budget allocations for the coming year.
- Form an Ad Hoc Neighborhood Purpose Grant Committee, to review grant applications and make recommendations for allocation of the $2,000 the council has set aside for grant funds this year.
- Postpone discussions and ratifications of members and chairs of the board’s various committees until next month’s meeting.
- File a Community Impact Statement, as recommended by the GWNC Transportation Committee, in support of Metro’s proposed “fare free” transit system.
- Request, at the recommendation of the Transportation Committee, that LADOT study crash data and options for safety improvements at the intersections of Highland Ave. with 3rd Street, 6th Street, and Beverly Blvd.
- Accept the GWNC’s Land Use Committee recommendations to support a proposed Mid City Neighborhood Greenway project (which touches GWNC territory at only one intersection at La Brea and Willoughby), retract its previous support for a zoning variance at 838 N. Mansfield Ave., oppose an application for a Demolition Pre-Inspection at 6415 Melrose Ave., submit a Community Impact Statement opposing proliferation of digital signs and expressing support for the City Planning Commission’s “Version B PLUS” recommendations for revisions to the Citywide Sign Ordinance, and to hold a Town Hall meeting on the city’s Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) program and Transit Oriented Developments (TODs).
Also, in a very brief second Special Meeting, convened during a recess in the main meeting, the board voted to appoint GWNC president Conrad Starr as its second signer for financial matters. (Treasurer Patti Carroll was elected as the primary signer at the April 14 meeting.)
While many of these actions can be described fairly simply, however, most of them sparked lengthy debates, conceptual challenges, formal appeals of the board president’s decisions, amendments to proposed motions, and sometimes even chains of multiple amendments to the proposed amendments, all of which contributed to the meeting’s eventual 3 1/2 hour length.
Some of the issues debated, however, could potentially change the way the GWNC does its business in the future, and will likely be topics of continuing discussion (and perhaps formally agendized actions) at upcoming meetings. These included:
- Whether or not ad hoc committees (which make recommendations to the board on issues of limited scope and duration) should always be open to all stakeholders, as well as board members, which would subject them to Brown Act rules for public meetings. (Currently, most of the Council’s ad hoc committees include only board members and alternates, so they are not bound by Brown Act rules. Ad hoc committee recommendations, though, are always brought back to the full Board for public discussion, input, and final board action.)
- Whether or not the board’s rules for the formation of and appointments to committees should be reviewed and/or revised.
- Whether or not committee member and chair positions should be filled as quickly as possible, or postponed for a while until new board members have a chance to explore them and express their interests in joining one or more committees.
- Whether or not the GWNC bylaws, board rules, and/or Robert’s Rules of Order (the three documents governing GWNC activities), as well as historic precedent, permit or prohibit the board president from serving as a member and/or chair of GWNC committees.
- How many committees a single person should be allowed to chair or participate in.
- Whether or not certain committee chairs can continue in their positions if their board member status has changed since the recent elections.
- Whether or not certain committees can continue to meet during the next month, before the recommendations/ratifications of committee members and chairs is taken up again at the May meeting.
- And, finally, whether or not the GWNC should engage the services of a professional parliamentarian to help guide discussions such as these…and whether or not, until such a person is selected and hired, it would be OK to solicit pro bono recommendations from a such a person recommended by a board member.
Each of these questions resulted in lengthy and, at times, heated discussions, among both board members and stakeholders. So it will be interesting to see how the issues – none of which were resolved at this meeting – continue to play out over the next few months.